Disclaimer: The only thing Darkest Powers I own, other than the books, is a mousepad of the characters and an autograph from Kelley Armstrong. Ah, it pays to be addicted to Facebook and win contests for it. Also, the sentences in bold are from The Awakening. So...not mine.
This takes place....whenever. There's not really a set timing for this.
Before Lyle House, Chloe never fully realized how much of a difference there was between reality and movies. Sure, she knew movies were completely fictional and she always prided herself on not falling into the group of people who believed everything they saw on television. Really, there was no way that giant apes could just randomly jump onto the Empire State Building and pull airplanes form the sky. And there was no such thing as men flying around in capes. People never just sporadically broke out into dance and song. She knew all that.
But ever since seeing her first ghost, being shipped off to Lyle House, and running for her life, she fully grasped how dependent she was on movies to explain life for her. Learning about the existence of supernaturals and the turmoil she'd been through entirely threw off everything she thought about movies and life. Once, people with otherworldly powers only belonged to some over-the-top special effects film. Now, she had to move through each day trying to hide her necromancer talents.
The logical part of her brain told her not to expect real life parables to movies, but that section of her brain wasn't exactly…the majority. In fact, the main part of her mind always went back to movies. And when something went wrong, it screamed 'That's not how it's supposed to happen!'
Chloe never liked romance films that much. Too cliché. Too predictable. Too many of the same grand gestures and cheesy one-liners over and over again. Romance didn't have to be complicated by scandal or drama. It could be very simple and easy. There was no need for exaggerated displays of affection and declarations of love. Yet, there she was, standing next to a vending machine, heart erratically pounding and wondering 'Why isn't this the same as what happens in those movies?'
It was simple, really. Her plan of action? Walk up to him, state her business, and either he says something that makes her happy or says something that makes her…not so happy. Her ideal outcome would be that he look up, she meets his gaze, and then they both know. Like in the movies. Those moments, when the two leading characters (or perhaps a lead and a secondary character, but she liked to think of them as leading characters. This was, after all, her life.) looked each other in the eyes and bam! Before either can utter one word, they know what's coming, and everything is just fine in the world because they know the other feels the same.
And possibly, that could happen to her. It happened in movies, didn't it? Movies could be just like rumors and maybe always have a bit of a truth to them. So, why couldn't this be the one little truthful part to all those fluffy, clichéd messes called romance movies? So, theoretically, once her eyes clashed with his, she'd know for certain the outcome of this scene.
That is, if he'd look up from the vending machine.
Clearing her throat, Chloe rocked back on her heels, arms folded across her chest and eyes pointedly staring at his head. Exactly how long did it take him to make the choice between Candy Bar Number One and Candy Bar Number Two? She'd been standing there for five minutes, waiting for him to turn around. Any longer and they'd both miss their scheduled bus. Which was fine with her, having a little more time being it just the two of them, but the Edison Group was getting closer each and every day. Being on the run wasn't the perfect time for a blossoming romance, but she'd take whatever time she could take.
And now, with the rest of the group waiting in the main area of the bus terminal, and no danger to be running from, was the perfect time. Or it would be. If he lifted his head and looked her in the eyes.
"Clear your throat one more time, Chloe, and I'll make you wait another five minutes," Derek Souza announced unexpectedly. Chloe stopped at the sound of his voice, not realizing that she'd continued clearing her throat, each time louder than the last.
Peeking over his shoulder was not an easy thing to do, him being so tall, but Chloe found that by leaning to the side, she could see his finger poised over the number pad on the vending machine, not moving. "How much longer will it take for you to pick something to eat?"
"As long as it take me." He shifted as she inched closer. "If you're so impatient, go back and wait with Simon until I've made my choice."
Perfect! He'd unknowingly just given her the best line to start what she needed to say. Now, if only she could execute it as well as she could in her head. "I was just talking to Simon."
His answer involved a grunt, and possibly a disinterested 'eh'. He only made sounds like those when he felt there was no need to answer what had been spoken. At first, it'd been hard to distinguish his little noises, but she found she could tell most of them apart when she listened really, really closely. This time, she didn't have the heart to interpret his non-answers. Her nerves, complete with rapid beating heart, were her total focus right at the moment. That, and why he wasn't looking at her like he was supposed to.
"Simon says that he likes me."
"Alert the media." Did it mean something when he said that in his normal sardonic tone? Or did it mean absolutely nothing, seeing as it was said in his normal sardonic tone?
Why wasn't there some movie equivalent to this scene? Fear of failure--which ultimately equaled rejection--was taking over, so she reverted to her normal battle tactic. Changing real life into a script.
So, of course, the next thing she said, perfectly crafted in her mind beforehand, was, "Simon also says that you like me."
According to her mental script, his next move was to turn around, look directly into her eyes, they'd do that whole 'knowing' thing that somehow always happened, and then he'd say something that would make her smile and heart beat even more. Happily ever after. The End.
However, after a two-second hesitation and perhaps a tensing of his shoulders, Derek mumbled, "Apparently, Simon says a lot."
Oh no! He went off script. Another thing Chloe needed to get through her head: in real life, there are no scripts to read off, so you can't just expect someone to say exactly what you wanted to hear.
"Yeah…" she stalled, looking at the top of the vending machine for some kind of answer. "So, what do you say, Derek?"
A large clunk from the vending machine, and Derek bent down to retrieve the power bar he'd bought, further secluding his face from her. Stuffing the bar into his pocket, he began walking towards the sitting area down the hall where the rest of the group was waiting. "Vending machine's free."
"What?" erupted from her mouth before she could take a chance to think about her script and what she, as a heroine, should say.
"The vending machine. You can get something from it now." He explained without turning around.
"But I don't want anything from the vending machine!"
"Then why were you waiting there?" He still hadn't turned around, but at least he'd stopped walking away from her.
Marching to him, Chloe confronted him with hands placed on her hips. "You heard everything I just said, didn't you, Derek? You are a werewolf with super sensitive hearing, are you not?"
He glanced wearily around the empty hallway, causing Chloe to roll her eyes, "There's no one but us here, Derek. We can say whatever we want to say."
"So, why not go say it to Simon?"
It was then that Derek finally decided to look her in the eye. And Chloe decided right then and there that that common scene in romance movies, the one with the eyes and the knowing and all that, was a bunch of crock. Because when Derek looked at her with those green eyes, she could see anger and scorn. There were other emotions, as well, but all of them flashed across his expression so quickly that there was no definite way to tell which was which. Certainly, however, there was no sign that he looked into her eyes and recognized what she was feeling for him as the exact thing he was feeling for her.
Breathing deeply, Chloe refused to look away from his gaze, so intense that it felt like it was crushing down on her. "I already told Simon what I had to say."
"Then I don't see why you have to talk to me."
"And what is that supposed to mean?"
He didn't provide a reply, only twisted his head to glare at a potted plant next to a door marked for employees of the terminal.
Suddenly, it hit her, making her wonder why she hadn't made the connection beforehand.
When I lived in that place where you were locked up, the others were like that. Territorial.
They had this pack, I guess you'd call it, and they'd claim stuff, like the sandbox, as their territory, and if--
He'd never finished the story. Because Simon had been looking for her. But she was still able to draw a conclusion without an ending.
"You would never take anything from Simon, would you?"
Nothing from him, so she took his silence for an agreement. "The other werewolf subjects took things from you when you were little, didn't they? Because they were territorial. You're not like that. You don't want to be like that. And Simon is your brother. You wouldn't take something from him just because you wanted it."
Green eyes darted quickly to hers and a conflicted expression showed itself for a moment before he tore his eyes away again. All her nerves melted away, and she reached for his hand. He let her hold on to him, but kept his own grasp light, easy to pull away if need be.
"And Simon says that he likes me. You wouldn't take away any chance he has with me just because you like me, too."
A snort and he slipped his hand away from hers. "Who says I could actually take you away from him?"
"Simon says. He says that while I like him, it's obvious that I like you a lot more."
He'd begun stepping backwards, adding distance between them. When she spoke, although, he stopped and stared at her face to see any signs that she wasn't speaking truthfully. It saddened her then, when she realized how he didn't think it possible for anyone to feel something such as that for him. Time after time, all he'd probably seen were girls throwing themselves at Simon. Nobody had even given him a chance.
But she had. Not at first. But gradually, she'd come to care for him more and more. It built up, to the point about fifteen minutes before when Derek had gotten up to visit the vending machine, and she'd sat down next to Simon and poured her heart out. And then he had given his say on the matter, prompting her to seek out the werewolf.
"What else has Simon been saying?" Derek questioned, not moving forward, yet not moving away.
Mouth forming into a small smile, she looked him in the eyes. "Simon says that even though he likes me, it's all up to me. He said that he wouldn't try to influence my decision and would accept whatever choice I made. He also told me that it took him awhile to notice your feelings for me, and he wouldn't stand in your way should you act on those feeling. And he knew that no matter what he might say, you'd still never betray him by acting on said feelings. So, he said I had to get creative to draw them out of you."
"And what did you say to all of that, Chloe?" A footstep forward. Aha. Progress.
Reaching for his hand again and smile widening, she responded, "I said that I suddenly had the biggest craving for something from the vending machine."
At that, his hand closed firmly, enveloping hers. And all at once, her nerves came back as she dared to stand on the tips of her toes and press her lips against his. A second of him standing there, resolutely unmoving, and she began to wonder if she was wrong, that he didn't want this. Then, his free hand rested on her neck, the pad of his thumb slowly running along the curve of her jaw. There was no hesitation in him now, no fear that she'd chose Simon over him, and with that fact settling in his mind, he stepped just a little closer to her.
She'd never kissed anyone before, and she guessed that neither had he. But it was wonderful all the same. She liked that he leaned down to meet her, that his lips left her for a second to let out a shaky breath, and then come back to join with hers again. She liked that his hair fell like a curtain over the side of her face, brushing against her cheek almost as softly as his mouth brushed against hers. And she liked how she could cup his face to pull him down to her, without him flinching away like he used to.
The announcement of the upcoming arrival of their bus finally brought them back to their senses. They were still supernaturals with out of control abilities and still on the run from the Edison Group. Now, they had to get back to the rest of their group, and leave the romance aspect alone for awhile.
It was easier said than done. Hands laced together, they reluctantly walked back to the sitting area. As they emerged from the hallway containing the vending machine, Derek pulled her around to face him and plant one last peck on her lips. As he lifted his head and peered over the top of her head, the corner of his mouth quirked into a grin.
"Do you see Simon?" Chloe asked, guessing as to what made him roll his eyes like that. With an affirmative grunt, Chloe turned around to see the sorcerer shaking his head at them and mouthing something with a knowing smile. Turning back to Derek, she saw his head was cocked, listening. "What's he saying now?"
"I think Simon says we should get a room."
Authoress's Notes: I have been inspired! Not sure by what exactly, but I have!! I just was walking around my house today and it hit me 'Holy crap, this would make a cute story!' And I wrote it. Meanwhile, I should have been working on the fat packet of the French Revolution for my AP Euro class, as well as my chinese poet presentation for English, and my presidential candidate speech for American Government. But no. Darkest Powers comes first. Especially when it involves Chlerek. Always.
I have two more Chlerek ideas floating around in my head, but I'm not sure when I'll get around to them. Midterms are coming up. As well as college application deadlines. Add in my usual laziness and it might take awhile. But who knows? I've been in a Chlerek mood this week...even more so than usual. Maybe it's because extra chapters of The Reckoning are coming out on Friday. Yay! That'll only add fuel to my obsession. I've already created a paper chain (which basically encompasses my entire bedroom) counting down the days to the release date of The Reckoning. How much more worse can my obsessing get? Only time will tell....
Realized there's already a story on here with the same title, but since my entire one-shot is based on the title, I'm not gonna change it. And like I said before, I have a lot of homework to catch on, so I really don't have time to think of a new one. Anyway, hope you enjoyed the story! It's my first in Chloe's POV, as well as the first where there's a full-on Chlerek Kiss. Makes me smile.